Anime Vice News

Persona 4 The Animation English Dub Imminent, Voice Cast TBD

Straight from Sentai Filmworks: yes, there will be an English dub, but no, we don't know if it'll be the game's voice cast.

Here's a piece of news that is equal parts exciting and alarming: Sentai Filmworks, the distributor who licensed Persona 4 The Animation for release in the United States, says they do plan on dubbing the show in English, but there's no word yet on whether they'll be nabbing the PS2 game's original voice cast.

Trying to imagine Morooka with any other voice pretty much gives me a panic attack.
Trying to imagine Morooka with any other voice pretty much gives me a panic attack.

When asked, the studio told me that while Persona 4 will definitely undergo an English dub for the DVD and Blu-Ray releases next year, that's all the information they're ready to announce at the moment.

If you want to get speculative about it, here's what we know: Aniplex, the studio producing P4A, was able to get the game's entire Japanese voice cast back for the main characters (excluding Igor, whose voice actor Isamu Tanonaka passed away in 2010, for whom they reused recordings from the game). Stateside, however, the dub is in the hands of Sentai Filmworks, whose past dub jobs range from pretty good (Clannad) to notoriously terrible (Highschool of the Dead) to completely nonexistent (To Love-Ru, MM!, Amagami SS, etc).

This begs the question: would you guys still be willing to watch the show if Chie didn't sound like Chie and Yosuke didn't sound like Yosuke? I can barely wrap my head around their Japanese voices, so the prospect of trying to adjust to an entirely new English voice cast terrifies me. What if they change Teddy's name back to Kuma? What if they make Naoto sound like a dude?! I'm gonna go lie down for a minute.

Nick Robinson is a Whiskey Media intern and a journalism student. Won't you follow him on Twitter at @Babylonian? He'd be ever so appreciative!

InfiniteGeasson Oct. 25, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.

I would not watch the dub if it didn't have the original voice cast. It would just be too weird, since those voices all fit those characters perfectly. I have to admit though, that Chie's Japanese voice sounds way better than her English voice which surprised me quite a bit.

Oh, and the Highschool of the Dead dub is not terrible. Just saying.

Jnason Oct. 25, 2011 at 3:13 p.m.

Oh jesus. I've been avoiding the Japanese version purely because I wanted to wait for the English dub. But if it's not the original cast...I will jump out the window. Granted, I'm only on the 1st floor, but I might hurt my ankle or something.

Petiewon Oct. 25, 2011 at 3:19 p.m.
If they changed the voice actors, I almost certainly wouldn't watch the dub. Though to be fair, with the exception of Bebop and one or two others, I never touch dubs.
clubvodkaon Oct. 25, 2011 at 3:21 p.m.
I've been holding back watching it cause I'm waiting for the English dub. If they don't get the game's English speaking cast then I'll be watching the Japanese version.
clubvodkaon Oct. 25, 2011 at 3:22 p.m.
@Jnas I'm in the same boat but I'm 14 floors up. See you at the bottom.
dixperikenon Oct. 25, 2011 at 3:24 p.m.

I wouldn't even give the Dub a second glance if they changed a lot of the key voice actors. Which is a shame because I am quite enjoying the series so far and I think it would be really cool to hear those guys put their take on it.

damswedonon Oct. 25, 2011 at 3:33 p.m.

They have to get the original voice cast back! Don't they?

God I hope so any way.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Oct. 25, 2011 at 3:53 p.m.

I was sure that they were going to dub this as soon as I heard it had been licensed. I have faith that they may certainly try to get the full cast. I'm just not sure they will be able to get everyone. FUNimation was angle to get most of the important players for the Evangalion Rebuild movies, but that might be because they got the distribution rights for the series. Johnny Yong Bosch was the voice for Yu, and he's quickly becoming the Nolan North of anime. Though some would say that's Chris Sabat.

Well, as much as I like the English cast performance from the game. I'm already listening to the cast sounding different since I'm watching the Japanese version. I know some of these voices already, so it's not that much of a shock.

One point, Nick. Not sure if you know this, but Kuma in Japanese means Bear. It could also be translated as Teddy. It was sort of weird how the English dub of the game kept honorifics but changed the name to Teddy. It wasn't that big of a sin since it was one character who doesn't play a huge role, and it pretty much means the same thing.

@Petiew:

Evangelion and Death Note had good dubs, and I'm a person who prefers subtitles. FUNimation has really been putting out high quality subtitles for awhile now.

@InfiniteGeass:

I disagree about Chie's English voice actress. I thought she did well. With the exception of that 'one line' in battle. "Ah ha, is this our chance?".

HOTD dub was horrible. They changed personalities of characters, changed entire meaning of some scenes, cursed to a ridiculous degree, renamed the dog for no reason, and make Sarah Palin references. Pretty much everything yo can do wrong in a dub they did. What's the point of dubbing a story if you are going to change it?

LifeByDegreeson Oct. 25, 2011 at 3:58 p.m.

I do think I'd enjoy it quite a bit more if the original cast returned. A few minor switches could work- as the pacing of the show is far quicker than the games X button conversations.

The pacing seems like it can be very different dialog wise- Japanese vs. English- so its hard to say.

I continue to champion the thought of them eventually making a fully U.S. edition- where things are paced and designed more for that audience- a bit more relaxed and goofy.

That might be a bit much to ask, so I'll enjoy and see what happens.

mutha3on Oct. 25, 2011 at 4:10 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

One point, Nick. Not sure if you know this, but Kuma in Japanese means Bear. It could also be translated as Teddy..

I remember hearing them changing Kuma to Teddie, was because "kuma" means nothing to 90% of their audience and "Bear" sounds totally retarded. Even though its a name they made up themselves, it carries the original intent very well by working both as a pun and as a name.

That's what a good localization is supposed to do, as far as I'm concerned.

Arrested_Developeron Oct. 25, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.

I need it be the original PS2 cast.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Oct. 25, 2011 at 4:27 p.m.

@mutha3:

You could make that same argument about the Japanese names of the cast they used and the honorifics, such as chan and sempai. If they had no problem keeping the Japanese and honorifics. Kuma isn't that big of a leap. How many of them are going to even know what sempai means? Kuma can be a person's name. It just also happens to mean bear.

metalsnakezeroon Oct. 25, 2011 at 4:34 p.m.

As a person who listen to Japanese voices a lot and have seen walkthrough of the game in Japanese I'm fine with the Japanese voice but i do agree that it wouldn't be right to not have the original English voices for the anime. hopefully sentai will do the right thing and get the original cast on this project, it will make the anime more attractive when it have both the original cast from in Japanese and English.

johnsonic7on Oct. 25, 2011 at 4:39 p.m.

@Arrested_Developer said:

I need it be the original PS2 cast.

My thoughts exactly. Feel the same way to a lesser extent about that arc system works game, if that ever makes it out of Japanese arcades. It's already asking something of viewers to watch an abridged version of a story they already played through, and if they threw a different voice cast on top of that they would lose me.

Babylonian staff on Oct. 25, 2011 at 4:41 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

One point, Nick. Not sure if you know this, but Kuma in Japanese means Bear. It could also be translated as Teddy. It was sort of weird how the English dub of the game kept honorifics but changed the name to Teddy. It wasn't that big of a sin since it was one character who doesn't play a huge role, and it pretty much means the same thing.

Yeah, that was something I only learned about once they started referring to him as Kuma in the subtitles in P4A; my homie LooityLoo pointed out that, like in the game, they interestingly chose to subtitle the show with bear puns instead of keeping the "kuma" at the end of every sentence. She's far crazier a Persona fan than I am, so I owe for me knowing about the whole Kuma history.

@FoxxFireArt said:

HOTD dub was horrible. They changed personalities of characters, changed entire meaning of some scenes, cursed to a ridiculous degree, renamed the dog for no reason, and make Sarah Palin references. Pretty much everything yo can do wrong in a dub they did. What's the point of dubbing a story if you are going to change it?

Yeah, I read a little bit about this in a review on ANN. It seems insane, and brings me to a larger point: irrespective of how good at dubbing Sentai Filmworks is, how good could this be?

To phrase it differently: how much about what's great about Persona 4 is because of Atlus' fantastic localization team? I feel like getting together the original voice cast is only half the work; if they butcher the dialogue and personalities the way you say they did for HOTD, that would somehow be even more blasphemous than using a different cast!

mutha3on Oct. 25, 2011 at 4:47 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

@mutha3:

You could make that same argument about the Japanese names of the cast they used and the honorifics, such as chan and sempai. If they had no problem keeping the Japanese and honorifics.

I disagree. Changing character names just because they're asian-sounding is pretty much whitewashing culture.....Unless there is a practical reason to do so, like say, every single character's name is a pun(see: Phoenix Wright). However, in the case of Persona 4, there is no such thing going on. Changing Yukiko to something like "Jessie" wouldn't serve much purpose.

As for the honorifics: I ain't seeing the comparison here. Its used mostly as flavor text,much like how Ezio randomly lets loose phrases of Italian or Latin in Assasin's Creed II. Besides, anyone who has seen any anime knows what honorifics mean. But knowing what Honorifics are? that is pretty common knowledge thanks to stuff like Karate Kid(hence, flavor text). Besides, I highly doubt the Persona fanbase is unfamiliar with honorifics.

Kuma isn't that big of a leap. How many of them are going to even know what sempai means? It just also happens to mean bear.

You're almost making it sound like a happy coincedence that Kuma is called Kuma:P

It was a conscious decision to name him that to evoke "yo man that's a goddamn bear". The localizers wanted to evoke the same thing by naming him Teddie. And seeing how he is an otherwordly being, it doesn't clash with the setting.

Again, I think transcribing a language in a way that lets the audience understand the intent without needing familiarity with the source material, is what seperates a good localization from a bad one. Its the same reason Japanese culture references where replaced by Ice-Cube lyrics(in the case of Funky Student AKA the best NPC ever.)

Babylonian staff on Oct. 25, 2011 at 5 p.m.

@Arrested_Developer said:

I need it be the original PS2 cast.

Honestly, I think Sentai Filmworks needs it to be the original PS2 cast, too. The overwhelming reaction both here and on Tumblr to this story seems to be "If they don't get the original main cast, I'm not gonna watch it." It's not crazy to speculate that the difference between getting the original voice cast and cheaping out could be the difference between this show being a hit or a bomb for them. I think it's something they aught to be unequivocal on, and fast.

If they're currently considering alternate casting, hopefully someone at Sentai sees the fan reaction to this story and is scared straight!

YotaruVegetaon Oct. 25, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.

I would love if they got the game's English voice cast back, but I love the damn game so much, and the anime's great too, so I only care that they gt proper voices at this point. If they don't feel right, I'll just stick with the sub.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Oct. 25, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.

@Babylonian:

Yeah, some anime characters tend to end statements with a certain word. Mostly when it comes to characters that are animal themed. The way cat-girls end sentences with "nya". That's the Japanese interpretation of "meow". You see the equivalent in Western and Euorpean series the way Catwoman names cat puns or makes hard Rs when saying Purrrfect.

Interestingly enough, Naruto uses a phrase "dattebayo", which is basically meaningless. The English dub tried to compensate by having him always saying "believe it", but the audience really hated that.

Another interesting little factoid. In anime, you'll often hear women ending statements with "wa". That's considered a feminine way to talk. When you hear a male use it, they are purposely trying to play up a character acting feminine. These actually play a part in conversation. It's almost a way of telling to another person you are finished with your statement. When you study the language, you discover that it's a seriously courteous language.

YotaruVegetaon Oct. 25, 2011 at 5:07 p.m.

@LifeByDegrees: Bosch played 2 roles in Persona 4. He was also Adachi, AKA "Young Detective," as Giant Bomb referred to him often in their Endurance Run. :) Well, he played at last two roles, if people who've played through the game get my drift. ;)

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